Sunday, August 26, 2012

Those were the days...

Today was a glorious late summer day and I spent the afternoon on the pool deck, doing the crossword puzzle and listening to WMPG on the radio.  They always play an eclectic mix of music, and Sunday afternoon a show featuring funk music is followed by Latino music, and then comes Eastern Sands hosted by Jackie Nice who explores the music of the Near-  and Middle-East.

The Eastern music is totally unfamiliar to me, but it's quite varied and exotic sounding so I enjoy listening and learning about the music and the artists who perform it - Jackie is very knowledgeable and her listeners are enriched by the factual framework she provides as well as her obvious love of the music she shares with her audience.

Today as I listened I heard what seemed to be a familiar melody.  At first I couldn't place it, then after a while I began to associate some lyrics with the tune, but I couldn't quite pull them into my conscious memory. I continued to  listen and hum along until the words started to come to mind and finally I remembered the refrain, "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end".   Those lyrics seemed to fit the music perfectly although I'm sure a trained ear could have detected differences. Still I was surprised that a song Jackie would play on Eastern Sands would remind me so vividly of a song from the pop charts of the '60s and I called her to tell her so (and to thank her for doing her show every week - all of WMPG's DJs are volunteers who clearly love the music they play).

After I called it a day on the deck I came in and googled the lyrics I remembered, and this is the song I was reminded of - it has a whole different meaning for me today than when I first heard it in 1968, but still:
"Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way."

Here's the original version by Mary Hopkin -
I guess those days are gone forever, but you know what? Life is still pretty good!

1 comment:

  1. A little subsequent googling revealed why the melody to the song may have been on Jackie's playlist: ""Those Were the Days" is a song credited to Gene Raskin, who put English lyrics to the Russian song "Dorogoi dlinnoyu" ("Дорогой длинною", lit. "By the long road"...), written by Boris Fomin (1900–1948) with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevskii." The melody is an old Russian folk-tune that Raskin altered slightly to fit his lyrics, and I'll bet it's that original folk-tune that Jackie included in her exploration of Eastern music. Mystery solved!